After a remarkable weekend when seemingly every side of Market Basket’s behind-the-scenes negotiation put out a statement, the independent members of the company’s board of directors have issued their third statement, again asking everyone to come to an agreement to rebuild the shattered supermarket chain.
The new statement echoes many of the sentiments from the group’s August 9 statement, which implored workers to return to the supermarket chain’s 71 stores and invited Arthur T. Demoulas to play a non-CEO role in stabilizing Market Basket as he continued with negotiations to buy it. That proposal was met with a response from Arthur T.’s camp, dismissing it as a negotiating ploy. The independent directors are appointed by the company’s shareholders, and the current independent directors are said to side with Arthur S. Demoulas.
The new statement reads in full:
“Three days ago, we offered a solution to the current standoff. We pledged to put everything on the table. All we asked for was an end to the standoff by letting associates get back to work and customers get back to shopping.
“We have a series of difficult business decisions to work out. However, there is no reason to continue to hold the 25,000 Associates, 2 million shoppers and our local economies hostage to an ongoing business negotiation between shareholders.
“We are available to resolve this standoff anytime and anywhere. All it takes is a ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes’ to getting Associates back to work. ‘Yes’ to letting people get back to shopping. And ‘Yes’ to sitting down and working out a long-term solution to the business issues that confront us.
“It is time to get everyone back to work. We must end this zero sum game and act in the best interests of our Associates, customers – and in the end, our company. We are ready to meet. It’s time.”
The multiple statements released this weekend suggest the two factions of the Demoulas family have agreed on a price of a sale for the troubled company, but disagree on the terms of how to close it. Statements from both deposed CEO Arthur T. and his rival Arthur S. claim the other is trying to impose onerous terms on the sale.
As the negotiations drag on, the worker revolt and customer boycott of the once-prosperous supermarket chain has entered its fourth week. Employees and many customers have been adamant that they will not return the company to its normal operations without Arthur T. leading it.